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UK Athletes in Helsinki action

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Norwich Union European Trials 800m winner Michael Rimmer (Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton Harriers) ran a stunningly aggressive personal best of 1:45.23 at the IAAF Grand Prix in windy Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday evening, 26 July.

The 20-year-old stuck so closely to the hot pace that he was fourth through the bell in sub-50.5 seconds, moved into third place with 200m to go and held on determinedly even through the finishing straight must have seemed closer to 90 miles than 90 metres to his tired limbs.

 

His rewards: a PB by 0.24 seconds and third place behind the 2002 Commonwealth Games Champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (South Africa), who clocked a meeting record 1:43.97 that was adjudged the best track performance of the night, and the vastly experienced Bram Som (Netherlands), who was second in 1:44.32.

 

It lifts Rimmer to eighth in the current European rankings, immediately behind Richard Hill (Notts AC), who ran 1:45.10 at last month’s BMC Nike Grand Prix at Watford.

 

Only three more UK athletes competed in Helsinki.

 

The 2002 Commonwealth Games long jump Champion Nathan Morgan (Birchfield Harriers) gained a little revenge over Greg Rutherford (Marshall Milton Keynes AC), the 19-year-old European Junior Champion who has won the last two Norwich Union Trials incorporating AAA Championships titles. Rutherford, who leads the UK rankings for the summer with his NU European Trials winning leap of 8.26m, began his first IAAF meet with an OK leap of 7.91m (wind: +1.8) but was sufficiently worried about the possibility of injury so close to the European Championships to opt out of the rest of the competition. He had to settle for fifth place, one behind Morgan (pictured) whose best on the night, 7.96m (+2.1) came in the fourth round. The reigning World Indoors and Commonwealth Games Champion Ignisious Gaisah (Ghana) won with 8.32m (+2.3) from the 2003 World Juniors Silver medallist Godfrey Mokoena (South Africa), who logged 8.22m (+1.5).

 

Wade Bennett-Jackson (Belgrave Harriers), who will compete at his second IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing after finishing second in the Norwich Union World Junior Trials at Bedford, did not hit his best form in the Men’s 100m (wind: +0.5m/s). Having clocked 10.40 seconds in Mannheim on 7 July in his last race abroad, he finished seventh among the seniors in Helsinki in 10.64. Deji Aliu (Nigeria) won in 10.28.

 

The Women’s triple jump was dominated by the London-based duo coached by Frank Attoh. Trecia Smith (Jamaica) leapt 15.05m (wind: +0.2) in round five to win from Yamile Aldama (Sudan), whose best on the night, a windy w4.61m (wind: +3.6), came in round three.